By: Raymond Hackney
Nothing has dominated the domain industry more than the new gtlds in 2013 but there were some other interesting developments.
This was also the year of the brandable boutiques coming more into view. Of course some sites have been around for years, but this year got a lot more people interested in the business of selling M.U.P.S. Now of course all the sites below do list domains that may not be a M.U.P. but also include Portmanteau type domains and domains that take a keyword and add a catchy prefix or suffix.
Made Up Pronounceable'S
At the time we researched their sales they had 680 reported sales since the site started. We interviewed founder Margot Bushnaq here.
Bushnaq explained that after leaving her job in early 2007 she started Boxador. From the interview:
Margot: By June of that year I had a collection of about 150 domains, so I put them up on a WordPress blog that we called "the bucket" so that our team at Boxador could reference them during our brainstorming sessions. My husband — always concerned about design and usability — made logos for all of the names so that our list was nicer to look at than a bunch of words on a page. In the first month that our site was up, someone stumbled across it, asked about purchasing a name, and told us that it was a great collection to choose from. Then a second person came along, and a third. We realized we had something special, and it really struck a chord with entrepreneurs like us, so we decided to expand and improve it.
Namerific.com was started by Zane Gocha, Zane had previously worked for a year at Brand Bucket and got a lot of on the job training on how to run a brandable marketplace. We interviewed Zane back in June.
In the interview Gocha explained what got him into the brandable niche:
I essentially fell into the niche without even knowing it. I have always been entrepreneur-minded, and since discovering domains, I've always registered the potential .com names for businesses or brands that I wanted to someday develop — which then left me with too many names to possibly develop, so I ventured out looking for ways to somehow monetize those extra names, which is where I came across a site called BrandStack.
While listing with BrandStack, I discovered that my domains didn't have as much 'spark' without attractive logos, so I turned my focus to learning how to design logos for the domains that I made. During the same time, I began building a personal site to display my own brands for sale, and named it ZTG Brands (ZTG being my initials). The main drive for creating ZTG Brands, was that I wanted to be sure that I would have the opportunity of promoting my domains for sale independently, and begin creating a name for myself in the brandable domain world.
About a year or so later of becoming involved with BrandStack, and getting some traction for ZTG Brands, I was invited to join BrandBucket to sell some of my names. I quickly became one of the leading sellers at BrandBucket, in terms of volume. It wasn't long before BrandBucket's Founder, Margot Bushnaq, invited me to help manage the company.
Brand Root is another marketplace to come onto the scene and I really do like the look of the website. The ability for others to sell is listed as coming soon and is not currently available.
They put together a video on learning how to name your business.
There are other sites in the space that do not allow others to sell on their site and they just list their own inventory.
The discussion about these names has also taken off in 2013. On Namepros some of the most active threads have been about this niche.
The Namerific experience thread has 219 posts and 7938 views, started May 28,2013
The Brand Bucket experience thread has 465 posts and 17,982 views, started May 15, 2013
The What makes a good brandable/showcase thread has 529 posts and 14,876 views, started June 5, 2013
There has been a lot of good information shared from members like Hookbox, UrlUrl, Gifted Domains and many more. People have shared their experience in getting listed and getting logos done.
Yes I did say logos, and that is one point where the sites need to improve, they need to find a way to get logos done faster so that names go up on the site faster. It is a daunting task because submissions to these sites have never been greater, with the increasing volume of new customers sending in names to be approved and once approved, getting a logo done, steps need to be taken to streamline the process and make it more efficient.
For those that want to get into the niche, understand that commissions are steep, 30% in most cases, plus a listing fee of $10 on Brand Bucket. Brand Root has said on their site they will charge a listing fee when the option becomes available to list domains on their platform.
With the volume increasing on these sites you have to decide if you want to pay for an expanded listing to increase exposure on the front page and get seen.
2013 was certainly the year that M.U.P.S. gained greater visibilty and interest, it will be interesting to see if they maintain the levels of interest in the new year.
To all of those that have provided data,emails,stories throughout the year, guys like Todd Finlay and Scott at Say Domains have contributed data and available names that many have benefitted from.
Thank you for your contributions in 2013